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Experts: Workplace terrorism a serious threat on Long Island

Nassau County Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, center,

Nassau County Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, center, speaks beside Michael Sapraicone, president of Squad Security Inc., left, and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini, during a panel discussion at the LIA headquarters in Melville Friday, June 17, 2016, regarding ways of preventing terrorism in the workplace. Credit: Barry Sloan

Workplace terrorism is a serious threat on Long Island, experts said Friday.

The police commissioners of Nassau and Suffolk counties told 160 business people at a workshop in Melville that awareness of potential security problems, both among executives and rank-and-file workers, is the best deterrent.

The commissioners said their departments offer vulnerability assessments and “active shooter” training courses for businesses with large workforces and public spaces. The departments also are developing panic-button systems to reduce police response times.

The commissioners’ comments came less than a week after 49 people were killed and 53 were injured in a mass shooting at a gay dance club in Orlando, Florida. The workshop on terrorism in the workplace was organized by the Long Island Association business group.

Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini both said they worry about companies that don’t take the terrorist threat seriously or have become complacent.

“The places that are paying attention have made huge strides,” Krumpter said. “The bigger concern is organizations that aren’t paying attention ... We have to be more conscious, more alert.”

Krumpter and Sini said police are working with schools, shopping malls and large companies.

Nassau has a Security/Police Information Network, or SPIN, that employers can join, while Suffolk is establishing the SCPD Shield program.

“We want the opportunity to help businesses prepare for these [terrorist] situations,” Sini said.

He and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) pointed to recent cases of homegrown threats, including Thursday’s arrest of two brothers from Mount Sinai found with bomb-making instructions, weapons and drugs.

“This is real; it’s out there,” King said in response to a question from panel moderator Kevin Law, the LIA’s president.

Among the steps that businesses can take are controlling access to buildings, establishing emergency plans and training employees frequently in how to respond to a terrorist incident.

Michael D. Sapraicone, founder and CEO of Uniondale-based Squad Security Inc., said security precautions can help the bottom line. “If your employees don’t feel safe, they are less productive,” he said.

Sapraicone, whose company has more than 500 employees around the globe, said ISIS isn’t the only danger. He recalled how a disgruntled husband shot three people in his spouse’s office by concealing a gun in a bouquet that he delivered.

“Domestic violence becomes a terrorist situation,” Sapraicone said. “If you see signs of a problem with an employee, you need to talk to them.”

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